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Diving in the Maldives? Doddle.

The Maldives is one of the best places in the world to go diving and snorkelling. Made up of nearly 1,200 islands, this Indian Ocean paradise is peppered with rich coral reefs and shipwrecks, all teeming with marine life. On a Maldives diving holiday, you can expect to see tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and more. And, because the water here stays warm all year round, you won’t even need to wear a wetsuit.

Whether you’re an experienced pro or a total novice, a diving holiday in the Maldives is sure to be an unforgettable experience. As well as the dive sites scattered throughout the Maldives’ tropical waters, many islands have their very own house reef – an accessible reef that’s either by the beach or just a short swim away. If you’re a keen diver, staying at a resort with a house reef is a must. With easy access to the corals, you’ll be able to start your day in the water as soon as you wake up. And, thanks to the Maldives’ model of one resort per island, you’ll mostly have the reef to yourself. Hotels like Hurawalhi Island Resort, OBLU by Atmosphere and Reethi Faru Resort have some of the best house reefs in the Maldives, but our experts will help you choose the right resort for you.

If you’re a complete beginner and want to learn to scuba dive in the Maldives, remember to look out for resorts with their own PADI dive centre. But, wherever you stay, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to go snorkelling and diving in the Maldives. A number of resorts have fantastic excursions, including boat trips and island-hopping tours. Atmosphere Kanifushi, for instance, offers unlimited snorkelling excursions across seven sites. Or take a look at LUX* South Ari Atoll – this plush resort is within easy reach of several coral reefs, and is perfectly placed for whale shark sightings.

House reefs

Diving sites

PADI Centres

Best time for diving

Resorts with house reefs

To make the most of your Maldives diving holiday, it’s worth staying at a resort with a house reef. With bright corals on your doorstep, you’ll have instant access to the Maldives’ vibrant underwater world – you won’t even need to leave your island. Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, LUX* North Male Atoll, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, and a number of other resorts have their own house reef, but we’ve highlighted some of our favourites.

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Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa boasts more than 40 diving sites, including coral-filled Khudarah Thila and Vilamendhoo Caves. And, between June and October, there’s an abundance of ghostly manta rays. Alternatively, if you stay at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa on an all-inclusive basis, you’ll have three dives included as part of your holiday.

At Hurawalhi Island Resort, meanwhile, you can spend all your time exploring the house reef. And, when you return to dry land, why not discuss your sightings with the resort’s very own marine biologist? Or swim among coral gardens at Reethi Faru Resort, where local marine life is protected as part of their Manta and Sea Turtle Programmes.

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Best dive sites in the Maldives

Made up of 49 islands, South Ari Atoll boasts some fantastic dives sites. Five Rocks is home to all kinds of colourful reef fish, while the underwater canyon of Broken Rock is filled with vibrant corals. But Maaya Thila is the jewel in the crown. Starting six metres below the surface and stretching down for 30 metres, this underwater pinnacle is home to rays, barracuda, octopus, nurse sharks and loads of whitetip reef sharks.

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North Ari Atoll – a collection of 33 islands – also has some great spots for snorkelling and diving. The network of caves and overhangs at Fish Head, also known as Shark Point, is often filled with tuna, trevally and grey reef sharks. If that sounds a little intense, Banana Reef is perfect for beginners. Now in a protected marine area, this shallow reef is home to colourful wrasse, sea turtles, small sharks and bright corals. If you fancy a break from diving, you can also snorkel in the shallow areas.

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PADI dive centres

If you’ve always wanted to dive, where better to learn than the Maldives? With clear, warm waters, this is the perfect place for beginners to get comfortable with scuba equipment. And, to make things even easier, a lot of resorts in the Maldives have on-site PADI dive centres. Big names like Cocoon Maldives, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa and Meeru Island Resort & Spa all have their own centres, where experienced instructors will teach you how to dive.

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On the unspoiled Lhaviyani Atoll, Komandoo Island Resort is surrounded by dive sites, and new ones are discovered all the time. So far, 15 species of shark have been spotted in these waters and, with the help of your instructor, you’ll soon be able to see them for yourself. 

Kuredu Resort & Spa also has its own five-star PADI centre, as well as snorkelling and diving excursions. You can discover two shipwrecks, and there’s a good chance you’ll see manta rays here between May and November.

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Best time to dive in the Maldives

You can enjoy a Maldives diving holiday any time of year. The tropical climate means average temperatures hover in the high twenties, and sea temperatures remain around 28oC throughout the year. But it’s not all about the weather – there are other factors to consider, like underwater visibility and migrating wildlife.

Diving visibility is best during the dry season, which runs from December to April. Plus, when you want to dry off, you can bask in the balmy sunshine. So, if you want to combine scuba sessions with sunbathing, this is the best time to go diving in the Maldives.

Show More
Show Less

But there’s one catch. In the wet season, between May and November, you’re more likely to see whale sharks and manta rays. Visibility is lower at this time of year and storms are common – but you’ll have a higher chance of seeing these two gentle giants. So the best time to go to the Maldives really depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

Show More
Show Less

House reefs

Resorts with house reefs

To make the most of your Maldives diving holiday, it’s worth staying at a resort with a house reef. With bright corals on your doorstep, you’ll have instant access to the Maldives’ vibrant underwater world – you won’t even need to leave your island. Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, LUX* North Male Atoll, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli, and a number of other resorts have their own house reef, but we’ve highlighted some of our favourites.

Show More
Show Less

Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa boasts more than 40 diving sites, including coral-filled Khudarah Thila and Vilamendhoo Caves. And, between June and October, there’s an abundance of ghostly manta rays. Alternatively, if you stay at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa on an all-inclusive basis, you’ll have three dives included as part of your holiday.

At Hurawalhi Island Resort, meanwhile, you can spend all your time exploring the house reef. And, when you return to dry land, why not discuss your sightings with the resort’s very own marine biologist? Or swim among coral gardens at Reethi Faru Resort, where local marine life is protected as part of their Manta and Sea Turtle Programmes.

Show More
Show Less

Diving sites

Best dive sites in the Maldives

Made up of 49 islands, South Ari Atoll boasts some fantastic dives sites. Five Rocks is home to all kinds of colourful reef fish, while the underwater canyon of Broken Rock is filled with vibrant corals. But Maaya Thila is the jewel in the crown. Starting six metres below the surface and stretching down for 30 metres, this underwater pinnacle is home to rays, barracuda, octopus, nurse sharks and loads of whitetip reef sharks.

Show More
Show Less

North Ari Atoll – a collection of 33 islands – also has some great spots for snorkelling and diving. The network of caves and overhangs at Fish Head, also known as Shark Point, is often filled with tuna, trevally and grey reef sharks. If that sounds a little intense, Banana Reef is perfect for beginners. Now in a protected marine area, this shallow reef is home to colourful wrasse, sea turtles, small sharks and bright corals. If you fancy a break from diving, you can also snorkel in the shallow areas.

Show More
Show Less

PADI Centres

PADI dive centres

If you’ve always wanted to dive, where better to learn than the Maldives? With clear, warm waters, this is the perfect place for beginners to get comfortable with scuba equipment. And, to make things even easier, a lot of resorts in the Maldives have on-site PADI dive centres. Big names like Cocoon Maldives, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa and Meeru Island Resort & Spa all have their own centres, where experienced instructors will teach you how to dive.

Show More
Show Less

On the unspoiled Lhaviyani Atoll, Komandoo Island Resort is surrounded by dive sites, and new ones are discovered all the time. So far, 15 species of shark have been spotted in these waters and, with the help of your instructor, you’ll soon be able to see them for yourself. 

Kuredu Resort & Spa also has its own five-star PADI centre, as well as snorkelling and diving excursions. You can discover two shipwrecks, and there’s a good chance you’ll see manta rays here between May and November.

Show More
Show Less

Best time for diving

Best time to dive in the Maldives

You can enjoy a Maldives diving holiday any time of year. The tropical climate means average temperatures hover in the high twenties, and sea temperatures remain around 28oC throughout the year. But it’s not all about the weather – there are other factors to consider, like underwater visibility and migrating wildlife.

Diving visibility is best during the dry season, which runs from December to April. Plus, when you want to dry off, you can bask in the balmy sunshine. So, if you want to combine scuba sessions with sunbathing, this is the best time to go diving in the Maldives.

Show More
Show Less

But there’s one catch. In the wet season, between May and November, you’re more likely to see whale sharks and manta rays. Visibility is lower at this time of year and storms are common – but you’ll have a higher chance of seeing these two gentle giants. So the best time to go to the Maldives really depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

Show More
Show Less

Hotel

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